India Climate Startups Insights

Startup Insights

Startups for low carbon thermal power plants

Notes by Narsi

Almost a third of all CO2 emissions worldwide come from thermal power plants. In India, this is close to 50%.

While renewable power from solar and wind power plants are gaining ground, it will be decades before they dominate the contribution to total power generation.

In short, thermal power plants will be around for a few decades at the very least.

It thus makes sense to figure out avenues by which thermal - mainly coal - power plants can reduce their emissions.

Avenues exist, and some of these are already implemented. These include:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Coal gasification
  • Biomass cofiring
  • IGCC
  • Converting coal power plants to natural gas power plants (quite tough for India)
  • Carbon capture

Interestingly, I find very few startups for most of the above avenues except for CO2 capture, even worldwide. I would have expected more at least for avenues such as Energy Efficiency but there are very few, except interestingly for an Indian startup ExactSpace. (See also a listing of global startups in this space)

Cracking business out of conventional power plants is not easy for startups anywhere in the world, and this will be even tougher in countries like India where most power plants are government owned. As a result, many of the decarbonization solutions currently being offered to power plants worldwide are by biggies and usual suspects such as GE, Hitachi, Schneider, Emerson etc.

All the same, I expect some movement from startups in this sector in the intersection of coal power plants and the followingt:

  • Digital solutions - AI/Big Data/Web3/Digital Twins (ExactSpace is in this intersection)
  • Biomass briquettes and pellets for biomass cofiring - as there is now a national mandate for a minimum 5% cofiring
  • Carbon capture & utilization

See all Insights from: Energy Efficiency


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